Drumming up cheer this year-end festive
season will be the myriad performances, shopping deals and celebratory events that are lined up for
Singapore’s Christmas in the Tropics 2008, to be held from 15 November 2008 to 2 January 2009.
Among the annual highlights of Christmas in the Tropics is the highly
anticipated Christmas Light-up, which will mark its 25th anniversary this
year. President S.R. Nathan will be the guest-of-honour for the switch-on ceremony
on the 15 November 2008 at Ngee Ann City Civic Plaza.
Themed ‘A Sweet Christmas in Singapore’, the decorations will centre around
the Sweet Family who live in Christmas Town and run a Sweet Shoppe. The family is celebrating Christmas in Singapore and spreading sweet cheer along
Orchard Road and the Marina Bay, which will be transformed into a fantasy
candy wonderland. The light-up is conceptualised by Creative Director Dick
Lee and will feature a landscape adorned with colourful gumdrops, candy cane
street lamps, delectable cupcake houses and giant doughnuts.
With the Orchard Road pedestrian mall enhancement works near completion, the new urban
green rooms fronting ION Orchard, Wisma Atria and Ngee Ann City will be used for the first
time to provide more space for decorative set pieces and themed activities, in addition to the
usual sites such as Shaw House, Wheelock Place and at the junction of Orchard Road and
The 25th year of the Christmas Light-Up
will feature an array of merchandise and activities themed around the light-up’s main characters. Mr and Mrs Sweet,
their three children and pets will appear on limited edition products such as squeeze doughnuts,
chocolates and eco-friendly bags. The Sweet Family members will also appear on Orchard Road
to meet and greet shoppers as well as take photos with them. Shoppers can also indulge in
sweet making demonstrations and participate in various sweet-related activities along Orchard
“Christmas in the Tropics will be extra special this year. With the special Sweet Family
merchandise and themed activities, as well as celebratory events, special promotions and
shopping deals, we hope that visitors will have an enjoyable and immersive experience of
Singapore during the Christmas season. This will help entrench Singapore as a top-of-mind
destination for their year-end travels, particularly for families and those
seeking a fun weekend getaway,” said Ms Geraldine Yeo, Director of Leisure Marketing and Events Management,
Singapore Tourism Board (STB).
Traditionally, November and December are peak months for the tourism sector. Last year,
Singapore received close to 1.8 million visitors in November and December, an increase of
5% over 2006. A survey by the STB during the Christmas In The Tropics 2007 season
found that approximately 5 million people visited the Orchard Road area, of which close to 1
million were from overseas. More than 30% of visitors were making a repeat visit to the
Christmas light-up at Orchard Road. This is an increase from the 25% recorded in 2006.
In addition more than 40% of tourists surveyed at Orchard were aware of the Christmas
celebrations before arrival. Overall, more than 15% of visitors had planned their trip to
Singapore to coincide with the Christmas celebrations.
said, “Even though the global economy is going through some uncertain times now,
we hope that the events and promotions will not only heighten the buzz of the year-end
festivities by making Singapore a more attractive holiday destination but also help to round off
the year on a sweet note for our visitors.”
A key highlight this year will be the Sweet Family themed activities, organised by the
Orchard Road Business Association. Every Friday, Saturday and Sunday night from 7pm to
11pm starting 28 November, the Sweet Family members will be handing out free candy and
take photos with shoppers. There will also be sweet-making demonstrations in the sweet huts
along Orchard Road where shoppers can indulge in sweet treats like ice-cream or traditional
Singaporean sweets like dragon beard and ting ting candy. A roving drummer band will also
drum up festive spirits. On 20 December, 2,000 participants will join in a mass
“fun-athon” event where they will solve sweet-related puzzles along Orchard Road using clue cards.
Besides that, shoppers can contribute to charity by helping to complete a 3m by 1.8m mosaic
picture of the Sweet Family. For every donation, mock sweets will be added on to the mosaic
display at Tong Building.
“The Orchard Road Business Association (ORBA) is pleased to take on a more direct and active
role for the Christmas in the Tropics festivities this year by organising the themed activities. We
hope to delight shoppers with these sweet offerings and continue to attract more visitors, both
local and international, to Orchard Road,” said ORBA chairman, Mrs May
The other highlight of the season is Celebrate Christmas in Singapore which takes place
from 19 to 25 December 2008. Nightly performances at various locations along Orchard Road
will feature choirs, mime performances, carolling and dance and amongst these will be
performances by international cultural groups hailing from Brazil, Taiwan, Indonesia, Hawaii,
Australia and the Philippines. The colourful float parade returns to run nightly between 19
December and Christmas Day and will spread festive cheer from the heartlands to Orchard
Road. The Christmas Village at Plaza Singapura will feature a singing Christmas tree and on
Christmas Day, the celebrations will culminate in a grand concert at 8pm in front
of Ngee Ann City Civic Plaza.
During the festive season, locals and visitors can also enjoy many lifestyle offers with the host
of entertainment, dining, retail and spa options lined up. The magical season takes a fairy-tale turn with the Singapore Dance Theatre’s ‘Nutcracker’
ballet performance, W!LD RICE’s annual musical pantomime ‘Snow White & the Seven
Dwarfs’ and The Little Company’s ‘The Tooth Fairy’. Fans of musical luminaries like Sting,
Edin Karamazov, Andy Lau, Fong Fei Fei and Taiwanese group Fahrenheit are in for a
treat when the stars stage their concerts in Singapore. Kids can also delight in their favourite cartoon
characters from ‘Sesame Street’ and ‘Precious Moments’ at Marina Square and Suntec City
Party-goers can revel in the iconic ZoukOut dusk-till-dawn beach dance party, which returns to
Sentosa on 13 December. Vivocity will celebrate its second anniversary with a brilliant fireworks
display by renowned French pyrotechnics team, Feerie, on 29 November. Come New Year’s Eve,
the Marina Bay Singapore Countdown is set to dazzle the crowds with a symphony of
lights and floating spheres bearing the wishes of the nation against a sky lit with dazzling
fireworks. At The Jewel Box, the ‘Sky Symphony Countdown’ will also feature a
choreographed fireworks show and showcase what could be the world’s tallest artificial
Christmas tree. Revellers can also head for the Siloso Beach Party to herald in the
Shopping malls are also introducing various in-house events to celebrate the season. The
Centrepoint, in line with the Christmas theme of all things sweet, will present ‘The Cacao
Show’ where chocolate chefs challenge the world record for the tallest ever chocolate sculpture.
Takashimaya goes green this year with its 16-metre tall Christmas tree powered by solar panels
and lit by energy-reducing LED lights. Over at Central, along the Singapore River, it’s a white
Christmas with a series of ice skating musicals and workshops. During this season of
indulgence, diners can enjoy various dining promotions at Villa Seafood Galleria, Made in China Hua Song Museum, The Olive
Ristorante, Moonladder, The Seafood International, The Vista Bistro and Olio and Dome cafes, amongst others.
Kids Holiday Free:
Families travelling with children will be able to enjoy special visitor promotions at selected
attractions and dining establishments under the ‘Kids Holiday Free’ promotion. For every two
paying adults, two children will enjoy free admission, special meals and other sweet surprises.
More than 20 attractions are participating, including the Singapore Flyer, HiPPO River Cruise,
Singapore River Cruises, Jurong BirdPark, Singapore Zoo, Night Safari, the National Heritage
Board museums and Sentosa, amongst many others. The same promotion extends to some 10
dining establishments such as Chen Fu Ji, Hard Rock Café, Billy Bombers, Marriot Café, Indian
Grill and Karma Kettle where up to two children dine for free with every two paying adults.
Party for Free:
Party animals can get set for a wild night out as they enjoy perks like 1-for-1 drinks or
complimentary entry to some of Singapore’s hottest clubs under the ‘Party for Free’ promotion.
Participating pubs and clubs include favourites such as Loof, Thumper, Zouk, Bar None, Attica
and St James Power Station.
Christmas Light-Up Tour on the HIPPO Bus:
Visitors are in for a visual treat when they take the free tour of the Christmas Light-Up on
Orchard Road on the HIPPO Bus. Some of the best photo opportunities can be enjoyed on this
30-minute tour aboard a special open-top bus.
For the first time, the theme of Christmas in the Tropics will adorn special festive merchandise.
The Sweet Family will grace the packaging of the largest chocolate bar in town – a special 1 kg
dark chocolate bar by Aalst Chocolate which will be available at selected department stores. The
Cacao Show at The Centrepoint will also feature the Sweet Family on bite-sized special edition
The Sweet Family will also be part of special tourist giveaways at Action City and the Orchard
Road Singapore Visitors Centre (SVC). At Action City, shoppers who spend at least
Sin$50 will get
a Uniquely Singapore Breadou Donut in a specially designed “The Sweetest Christmas” box.
Visitors who spend at least Sin$200 (with maximum of three combined receipts) can redeem a
Sweet Family eco-bag as well as a Jurlique beauty sample redemption card at the SingaporeVisitors Centre at Orchard.
Santa’s Gift Bag:
This year, in line with the Sweet Family theme, Santa’s Gift Bags will contain sweet treats such
as chocolates, fruit cakes, gingerbread and other delectable delights. Perfect presents for
sweet-toothed friends and family, these bags of treats range from S$15 to S$35 and will
contain items valued between S$22 and S$80. Merchants participating in this promotion are
Aalst Chocolate, Chocz, The Cocoa Trees and Galler.
Visitors can also enjoy special deals at Funan DigitaLife Mall and Epicentre on MP3 players and
selected iPod products purchased at the Epicentre. Audio House is also offering visiting
photography enthusiasts an Sin$800 discount off the Nikon D60 SLR digital camera.
Visitors can pamper themselves with a Roman milk body wrap, a Thai massage or a medispa
facial treatment at various spas around the Orchard and Marina Bay areas. These special
wellness packages are offered by six participating spas, namely Ayuthaya – The Royal Thai Spa,
LS Philosophy, DRx Medispa, Spaboutique Pte Ltd, Spa Valley and The Wellness Lounge.
Free Taxi Ride:
After a rewarding day of retail therapy, visitors can enjoy a free
Sin$20 taxi voucher from
MasterCard for purchases above Sin$300 that are charged to their MasterCard. Redemption can
be made at the Orchard Road Singapore Visitors Centre (SVC) with accumulated shopping
Last-minute Christmas shoppers can look forward to weekend nights for late-night shopping,
dining and entertainment. Especially for the Christmas season, selected malls will also extend
their shopping hours on Fridays and even Sundays. Participating outlets at Marina Square,
Vivocity and TANGS Orchard will extend their hours till 11pm on Fridays and Saturdays in
December, Wisma Atria will extend opening hours for the week before Christmas, while Paragon
and The Centrepoint maintain their late night shopping hours on all Saturdays. Check with each
participating mall for full details and late night shopping deals.
other recent news regarding: